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An Orthodox Perspective on Christian Zionism June 18, 2011

Posted by The Prodigal Son in Uncategorized.
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By Father Daniel Swires

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

There is an ancient belief among some people known as “millenarianism” or “chiliasm.” This is the belief that Christ will set up an earthly kingdom and will rule it for a thousand years, usually referred to as the “Millenium.”

This belief actually has its origin in post-exilic Judaism. An anticipation that survived the Babylonian exile was that one day God would restore the kingdom of David under a model anointed king, the Messiah. Even though idealized, this would be an earthly, historical kingdom, and most often its relation to the end-time was not specified.

Another expectation that developed, especially in apocalyptic writings, was that God would directly intervene in the end-time, without any mention of a restoration of the Davidic kingdom.

One way of combining the two expectations was to see two divine interventions: (1) a restoration of an earthly kingdom or period of blissful prosperity to be followed by (2) God’s end-time victory and judgment. Many writers speculated about these two events. They are found in 1st Enoch, in 4th Ezra, in 2nd Baruch, in the Ascension of Isaiah. It is interesting, though, that each of these writers sees a different time frame for these events. It is quite probable, in fact, that most of them never intended to convey exact times. Rather, they were symbolic ways of predicting divine victory over evil forces that are an obstacle to God’s Kingdom or rule.

St. John, then, in writing the Apocalypse, also used the idea of a thousand-year reign of Christ, not to describe a historical, earthly kingdom, but as a way of saying that ultimately, in His own time, God will have the victory. (It is worth reminding ourselves that only one passage in the Apocalypse, consisting of two verses, mentions a thousand-year reign: from this one small passage has come a lot of exaggerated speculation.)

Nevertheless, throughout Christian history some have taken the thousand years quite literally and speculated about it. That belief was held by many in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, even among some that were considered orthodox (Papias, Justin, Tertullian, Hippolytus, etc.). However, the danger that the expectations of abundance and happiness were becoming too sensual and worldly gradually led to a rejection of millenarianism. Origen allegorized the millennium to represent the spiritual kingdom of God on earth; Augustine understood the first resurrection to refer to conversion to Christianity and the death to sin, and the second resurrection to refer to the resurrection of the body at the end of time. Church writers of the 4th century tell us that Apollinarius of Laodicea was a chiliast, and the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431) condemned his fanciful theories.

But, especially in the Western church, from time to time millennial expectations have been revived in various forms. The Cistercian Joachim of Flora (1130-1202) proclaimed that the millenium or “new era of the Spirit,” represented by monasticism, would come about 1260. Never mind that Christ, Himself, said that no man knows the day nor the hour of our Lord’s return. (Let that be a warning: whenever you hear anyone setting a date, even in general terms, you can immediately write him off as being caught up in error.) Although millenarianism was rejected by the Lutheran Augsburg Confession, some splinter groups, including such famous heretics as (T.) Munzer, and John of Leiden embraced it.

The coming of persecuted Protestants to North America was often accompanied by hopes of establishing a religiously perfect kingdom in the New World. In the United States during the 19th century, millennialist groups proliferated, usually with one foot in the book of Daniel and the other in the Apocalypse of St. John, and always reinforced by so-called “private” revelations. These are exemplified in the followers of Ellen G. White (Seventh-Day Adventists) and Charles T. Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses).

In some evangelical groups sharp divisions arose between Premillennialists and Postmillennialists. Premillennialists believe that the golden age will come only after the evil present era is destroyed at the Second Coming. Postmillennialists are optimistic liberals and believe that the present age will be gradually transformed into the millennium by natural progress in society and religious reform: never mind that Christ, Himself, told us that in the end times there would be great apostasy and corruption of society, not progress. (We Orthodox must keep in mind that millenarianism was condemned by the Church long ago and that both of these views are heretical.)

I would like to emphasize, here, that the first thing we must have if we are going to be protected from the erroneous teachings that are all around us is a basic knowledge of the teachings of Orthodox Christianity. That is, knowledge of the Holy Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments (as it has been interpreted by the Church for 2000 years); knowledge of the writings of the Church Fathers; knowledge of Church history; and awareness of the different kind of heresies and errors which have attacked the Church’s true understanding of dogma and especially of the end times. If we do not have a grounding in sources such as these, we will find ourselves confused and unprepared. Our Lord tells us to be ready, to be prepared. So, it is imperative that we study Holy Scripture, the writings of the Church Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils, etc., in order to have a basic knowledge and understanding of the teachings of Orthodox Christianity.

In 1970 a book was printed in English which became a tremendous bestseller for a religious book. It sold over ten million copies in America. It’s called ‘The Late Great Planet Earth‘ by Hal Lindsey, an Evangelical Protestant in Texas. Ten years later he published another bestseller called ‘The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon‘. In these books he talks about the Millenium and about such strange things as the “Rapture,” when Christians are supposedly gathered up into the heavens before the end of the world, and then watch how the people suffer down below.

He talks a great deal about the founding of the modern state of Israel and the perceived necessity of expanding its borders to the ancient borders of the Kingdom of David as the key to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and about the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. (By the way, this is why Evangelical Protestants are diehard supporters of a greater Israel, even at the expense of the Palestinian Christians, who they view as being tools of Satan because they are opposed to the expansion of Israel.)

So, where in the world does all this come from? Well, it actually comes from the predominant fundamentalist Protestant form of Premillenialsim known as Dispensationalism.

Let’s look first at the doctrine of the “Rapture.” Actually, the doctrine of a “Rapture” does not originate in the book of the Revelation. The word “rapture” is not actually found anywhere in any English translations of the Bible. It comes from rapere which is found in the expression “caught up” in the Latin translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Let’s read verses 15-18:

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Now, this is actually a fairly straightforward and very exciting passage of Scripture. The Apostle Paul is talking about the Second Coming of Christ. He says that it will be a glorious event, proclaimed by the voice of an archangel and the blast of a trumpet. You can just picture in your mind what a glorious event this will be! The dead in Christ will be resurrected! Those who are alive will ascend to meet their Lord and shall dwell with Him in eternity! This is our blessed hope being fulfilled! And St. Paul says, “Therefore comfort one another with these words!”

But the idea of an event called the “Rapture” is not actually taught in this passage of Scripture, or anywhere in the Bible, for that matter. Rather, it comes from focusing on those two words “caught up” and interpreting them within the context of Dispensationalism.

Their basic premise is that this passage is not talking about the Second Coming of Christ at all, but rather it is talking about an event that will occur before the Second Coming in which the Church will be “snatched” or “raptured” from the Earth, leaving everyone else behind. Usually this is taught to occur before a period of seven years known as the Great Tribulation, but there are proponents of a mid-Tribulation “rapture” and even a post-Tribulation “rapture.” But, none of this will make sense if we do not know anything about Dispensationalism. So, let’s look briefly at its origins and teachings.

While there have always been groups that worried about such things as a Great Tribulation period and the Anti-Christ, the idea of a “rapture” was pretty rare until the early 1800’s when a man by the name of John Nelson Darby, a member of the Plymouth Brethren, developed the theological system known as Dispensationalism. In fact, much of the thought and attitudes of those who are known as Fundamentalists can be found in the teachings of J. N. Darby.

Mr. Darby was born in London of Irish parents on November 18, 1800. In 1819, at the age of eighteen, Darby graduated from Trinity College Dublin as a lawyer. In 1825 he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England, and the following year, he was elevated to the priesthood and was assigned a parish in Ireland.

After only twenty-seven months as a parish priest and thoroughly dissatisfied, Darby left the Church of England and began meeting with a Bible study group in Dublin during the winter of 1827-28. It was this group which would later become known as the Plymouth Brethren. While Darby was not the founder of this group, he quickly emerged as its spiritual leader and dominant force.

Many other Brethren groups formed in Britain and subsequently in other parts of the world. As a result of his extensive travels, Darby himself was responsible for the spread of Brethren doctrine to other countries. He made several trips to preach and teach in Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Holland. Between 1859 and 1874, Darby made six trips to the United States and Canada where he taught in all the major cities and in some of the smaller ones as well.

Wherever Darby went, he continually expounded his views on the doctrine of the Church and of future things. He saw the saintly remnant, God’s “heavenly people” as completely incompatible with God’s “earthly people”, Israel. This notion has deep and complex roots in his hermeneutics, ecclesiastical context (19th c. Anglican), and probably even his psychology. He was convinced both that the Church was in a state of ruin and that Christ’s return to “rapture” the saints and establish an earthly millennial kingdom was imminent. Probably the most important disciple of J. N. Darby was Dwight L. Moody, the founder of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

Darby is called by many the father of modern Dispensationalism which was made popular first by the ‘Scofield Reference Bible’ and more recently by the ‘Ryrie Study Bible’. It is a theological system that has gained wide influence through the publications and educational efforts of institutions like Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary. In fact, Darby is credited with much of the theological content of the Fundamentalist movement.

Another very important dispensationalist was William E. Blackstone (1841-1935). He was born in New York and raised in an evangelical Methodist home. After the Civil War Blackstone settled in Oak Park, Illinois, and established himself as a successful businessman and lay evangelist to the Chicago business community. He became a dispensationalist and a close friend of D. L. Moody. In 1878 he published ‘Jesus is Coming’, which went through three editions, was translated into 42 languages, and was dispensationalism’s first bestseller in America.

In 1891 Blackstone drew up a petition advocating the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.

In short order, he collected 413 signatures from leading Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the speaker of the House, the mayors of Chicago, New York, and Boston, and business leaders such as Cyrus McCormick, John D. Rockefeller, and J. Pierpont Morgan. Blackstone forwarded the petition to President Benjamin Harrison, who ignored it, and later he sent others to Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

Blackstone became good friends with Zionist leaders and regularly sent them the results of his “prophetic” study. In 1918, at a Zionist conference in Philadelphia, organizers hailed Blackstone as a “Father of Zionism;” and in 1956, on the 75th anniversary of his petition to President Harrison, the citizens of Israel dedicated a forest in his honor.

This connection between dispensationalist evangelical Protestants and Zionists continues to this very day. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Voices United for Israel Conference in Washington, D. C., in April 1998. Most of the 3,000 in attendance were evangelical Protestants, including Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition, Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries, Jane Hanson of Women’s Aglow, and Brandt Gustavson of the National Religious Broadcasters. (Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson supported the conference but did not attend.)

On the day before he met with President Bill Clinton, who urged him to trade West Bank land for peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu told the conference: “We have no greater friends and allies than the people sitting in this room.”

The close tie between evangelical Protestants and Israel is important: it has shaped popular opinion in America and, to some extent, U.S. foreign policy. To understand how it developed, one must know something about the beliefs of these evangelical Protestants.

Most of those who gathered in Washington to show their support for Israel believe that the Holy Land will be ground zero for events surrounding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Such people read the Bible as though it were a huge jigsaw puzzle of prophecies, with Israel in the center. They believe that human history is following a predetermined divine script, and they and Israel are simply playing their assigned roles. These beliefs come out of the complex system of biblical interpretation know as dispensationalism.

The Scofield Reference Bible was edited by Dr. C. I. Scofield, a lawyer who converted to Protestantism under the teaching of D. L. Moody. He studied many of the Plymouth Brethren writings and put together a huge set of reference notes that were issued as the Scofield Reference Bible. He became the great teacher of dispensationalism to a whole generation of people.

It was Dr. Scofield who provided the Fundamentalist definition of a dispensation. In the first chapter of Genesis he has a note which says, “A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect to his obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.” He saw through the course of history seven periods of time in which God was doing different things with men.

He called them:

  • (1) The “dispensation of innocence,” which covered the time before the fall when Adam and Eve were in the Garden, in fellowship with God.
  • (2) The “dispensation of conscience,” which followed the fall and extended to the time of Noah, when men lived according to their consciences.
  • (3) The “dispensation of human government,” which came in after the flood and went from Noah’s time until that of Abraham.
  • (4) The “dispensation of promise,” which began when Abraham was given various great promises of God by which men were to live, as Dr. Scofield saw it, until the time when Moses brought the law.
  • The (5th) “dispensation of law” ran on through many centuries until the coming of Jesus Christ, who introduced (6) the “dispensation of grace” in which we all live, and which is yet to be followed by (7) the “dispensation of the kingdom,” or “the millennium,” a thousand years of Christ’s rule on earth in the future. Those are the seven dispensations taught by Fundamentalist Protestants.

It is interesting to note that the “dispensation of grace” is also referred to as the “Times of the Gentiles.”

Dispensationalists believe that the “Times of the Gentiles” will end with the end of Daniel’s “Seventieth Week,” which is considered the last “week” of time before the restoration of the earthly kingdom. There have been many attempts to mathematically determine the beginning and ending of the “Seventieth Week,” all of which have failed. But there is a general belief that the turn of the millennium is related to this time.

I remember so well some of the slogans of dispensational teaching. One was, “Rightly dividing the word of truth,” borrowed from 2 Timothy 2:15 where St. Paul exhorts young Bishop Timothy,

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

To the Dispensationalist mind, that means dividing up history according to these dispensational distinctions, “rightly dividing” it so that you have a clear understanding of the divisions of time.

I have since come to understand that this verse doesn’t refer to that at all. It is really talking about hermeneutical or interpretational principles. One is to handle the Word of truth according to the clear teaching of the Church through the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, and not go off on a tangent, on doctrinal side tracks, but to “plow a straight course” through the Word of truth. That is literally what the phrase means.

Another of their phrases is “The Great Parenthesis,” which has to do with prophecy. It means that seemingly God has interrupted His program with the nation of Israel, that at the Cross this nation was scattered abroad across the face of the earth, and God introduced the Church. The church age will run its course until the Great Tribulation, and then God will “rapture” it and again deal with the people of Israel and wind up this age with a resurgence of the prominence of the nation of Israel and the restoration of the kingdom of David. The period in between, then, is called “The Great Parenthesis,” the time when God is working with the Church, as opposed to Israel.

The doctrine of the rapture, which is woven into this dispensationalist system, actually has its origin in Darby’s warped ecclesiology. The “heavenly people” must be hermetically sealed off from any divine activity with the “earthly people.” Thus, if Israel’s “clock of prophecy” (another code-word) is to begin keeping time again during the Great Tribulation, then, by definition, God’s heavenly people must be “caught up” and removed from the scene beforehand. So, we have the “rapture.”

Another of their slogans is, “All Scripture is for us but it is not about us.” This means that certain parts of the Scriptures seemingly do not apply to the Church but were addressed only to the (Israelites).

All of this found its final expression in the teaching of Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, who was the successor to Dr. Scofield at the Scofield Memorial Church, in Dallas, Texas, and who founded the Dallas Theological Seminary.

One big problem with Dr. Scofield’s definition of a dispensation is his connecting it with “a period of time.” This word, “dispensation,” is a biblical word. It is found in the King James Version in several places. It comes from a Greek word, oikonomia, from which we get, in English; economy. In the Revised Standard Version it is usually translated “stewardship” or, in some places, “plan.” It appears in Ephesians 1:10 where the apostle Paul speaks of “a plan for the fullness of time.” In Ephesians 3:9, St. Paul speaks of a “dispensation” or “stewardship” which was committed to him, which he calls, in the RSV, “the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.” This is the word we are dealing with. Literally, it would mean “the law of the house”. It has to do with the order and regulation of things.

Essentially, though, a dispensation has little to do with a period of time, as such. Let me illustrate. In John 1:17 you have a verse that Dispensationalists often use. John says,

“The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

This has been construed to mean that a “dispensation of law” was introduced by Moses which covered the Old Testament period after the Exodus. And the people of the Old Testament lived primarily under the Law and tried to fulfill the Law. But, in the New Testament, Jesus changed all that, set aside the Law, and introduced grace and truth. And now it is by grace and truth that we live.

But that is very confusing, because it ignores the fact that there was grace and truth running throughout the whole Old Testament. Right in the middle of the struggles of the people of Israel to obey the Law, was God’s provision – given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, – of grace and truth. The entire system of sacrifices was God’s gracious provision for the forgiveness of sins. And it is a picture of the work of Jesus Christ. Therefore, grace and truth were as much available, and as much a part of the life of God’s people, in the Old Testament as they are in the New. Grace and truth didn’t just begin with the Incarnation.

Because of this confusion about time, many Dispensationalists have rejected, for instance, the Sermon on the Mount, the great passage in Matthew 5 through 7 in which our Lord taught such things as the Beatitudes. Many Dispensationalists say, “No, this doesn’t belong to us. This belongs only to Israel. It is to be fulfilled in the future kingdom.”

Because that passage incorporates the Lord’s Prayer, many Dispensationalists refuse to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Yet this is the prayer that Christ taught his disciples to pray, and it has great value and meaning for Christians today. Some go even further and apply much of the Gospels to the future kingdom age. Some reject water baptism as being inapplicable today. Or even the Lord’s Supper, they say, doesn’t belong to us but is only to be celebrated in the millennium that is yet to come. And some Dispensationalists set aside all the apostles except Paul. They say that Paul is the apostle to the Church, and that he is the only one we should read, that the rest were Jewish Apostles – James, and Peter, and John – and their words do not have any significance to us, but only to Hebrew Christians.

These distinctions have all been made because of their insistence in linking the idea of a dispensation with distinct divisions in time. But this is misleading.

In Galatians St. Paul says, “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.” But this doesn’t mean that people had to wait for twelve hundred years – the whole time from Moses to Christ before they could come to Christ.

No, the law was leading them to belief in their need for a Savior all during this time. That is what St. Paul means. And the same thing is actually true, today. A single person can, in fact, pass through a number of these so-called “dispensations.”

Take for instance a person living in the jungle, who is an animist and knows nothing of God. He is living, as Dr. Scofield would say, in the “dispensation of conscience,” in which he is responsible only to his conscience for guidance. But then, let us say, some Jews come along, and they get acquainted with him and begin to teach him the Old Testament revelation of God through Judaism, the Law of Moses and the sacrifices, and he becomes a Jew. Well, now he has moved into what Dr. Scofield would call the “dispensation of law.” He understands something of that further revelation. His understanding of God has been greatly increased, but it is still far short of what the New Testament sets forth – all this according to a Dispensationalist’s point of view. Finally some Christians come along, and this person is taught the New Testament and accepts Christ. Now he has moved into the “dispensation of grace”. But he is the same person – just at various stages of knowledge and understanding in his life – moving from one “dispensation” to another.

The last major problem with dispensationalism is its tendency to view people in the past as locked into a pattern of truth that they cannot rise above. That is, dispensationalists often teach that the Old Testament saints did not understand and did not experience God in the same way that we do today, that they lived at a lower level of understanding and experience than we, and they couldn’t come up to ours because ours is based on a fuller and fresher revelation of truth.

But we would have to disagree strongly with that. Take men like David and Abraham and Isaiah and others. When David writes in the Psalms about how he felt in relationship to God, we can only echo what he says. He cries,

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Ps. 27:1

You can’t beat that. That is what the Lord can be to anyone! When you read Isaiah, you see beautiful descriptions of his understanding of the being, the wisdom, the knowledge, and the character of God, of His grace and His abiding presence. He writes to the people of Israel and says,

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” 

– Is. 40:30-31

You can’t beat that. These people may have lived before Christ, but they certainly had a profound knowledge of God. Abraham is said to be the father of the faithful. That is, everyone who walks by faith walks in the steps of Abraham. He follows him. And Abraham was called the friend of God. He is set forth as the example of those who follow, so that we become children of Abraham, walking as Abraham walked – children of Abraham, by faith in Jesus Christ. Abraham was taught by God and came into communion with God. And the promise that was given to Abraham is promised to us.

So, you see, faith has a way of eclipsing time. Faith is a way of surmounting time, of stepping out of it, if you like. When you live by faith in Christ, you are able, as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews puts it, to “taste the powers of the age to come.” The age to come hasn’t yet come in time, but you can experience the Kingdom of God now, in your life in the Church. You can know the presence of God, live in the city of God, walk in the midst of the garden, with the river of life flowing through it.

In summary, the whole “dispensationalist” system is flawed to its very core. The idea that God deals with mankind in all these different “dispensations” of time and is soon going to “snatch” or “rapture” the Church off this Earth and leave it populated with unbelievers who will initiate a Great Tribulation upon those who then come to believe in Christ, including a restored nation of Israel, is an innovation that is not taught in Scripture and is certainly incompatible with the teachings of Christ, the Apostles, and the Orthodox Church.

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Taken from: Challenging ‘Christian’ Zionism

~~~ ~ † ~ ~~~




1. louwandy - June 30, 2011

[Thanks, Orthodox,,, Found this bit on the amazing net.]

Christ’s return is NOT imminent !

by Bruce Rockwell

(Pretrib rapturists claim that Christ’s return is imminent, that is, capable of occurring at any moment. Theologian and pastor Norman MacPherson, in his excellent book “Triumph Through Tribulation,” offers proof that the Bible has never taught an any-moment return of Christ. Here are the points brought out and discussed at length by MacPherson:)

1. Great Commission fulfillment implies a long period of time.
2. Seed growth in Matthew 13 is a time-consuming process.
3. Paul expected death, not rapture, in II Timothy 4:6-8.
4. Jesus predicted Peter’s martyrdom in John 21:18-19.
5. Matthew 24 teaches that signs must come first.
6. Many passages speak of a large interval between Christ’s ascension and return: Jewish dispersion into “all nations” (Luke 21); “man travelling into a far country,” “after a long time the lord of those servants cometh” (Matthew 25).
7. Apostasy of last days takes time to develop.
8. Bridegroom tarried in parable of virgins.
9. Pastoral epistles teach Church’s continuing ministry, which involves time.
10. Paul says Christ’s coming is not imminent (II Thessalonians 2:1-3), for apostasy and Antichrist must come first.
11. View of seven phases of church history (seven churches of Revelation) involves big lapse of time and imminence difficulties for pre-tribs; could Christ have come before the last phase?
12. Exhortations to watch and be ready are tied to what pre-trib teachers regard as the second stage (which is necessarily non-imminent) in Matthew 24 and 25, I Corinthians 1:7, Colossians 3:4, I Thessalonians 3:13, II Thessalonians 1:7-10, I Peter 1:13 and 4:13, and I John 2:28.

(How can an “imminent” return of Christ have a greater practical effect on us than the indwelling of the Holy Spirit already has, or should have, on us? For more on pretrib beliefs and history, Google “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty.”)

The Prodigal Son - July 1, 2011

“Theologian and pastor Norman MacPherson” seems to have had no idea what or where the Church is.

    “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
    “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”
    Matthew 24

“Its later than you think.” — Fr. Seraphim Rose

2. Chris - July 5, 2011

Thank you for the excellent article. Maybe you could do something similar on “Jehovahs Witnesses”?

The Prodigal Son - July 5, 2011

Chris wrote:

Thank you for the excellent article. Maybe you could do something similar on “Jehovahs Witnesses”?

I just reposted it here… I am not the author. The author is Fr. Daniel Swires.

The link to the original posting is at the bottom.

Thanks for the suggestion though… I will post something about the JWs here soon…

The following link may be of interest to you for now:


3. 正教会の智 - July 5, 2011

Might as well post the whole thing, since “offensive” blogs sometimes just disappear…

Cultist at My Door

An Orthodox Examination of the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses

By John W. Morris

You’re sitting at home on a Saturday afternoon, enjoying some peace and quiet, when the doorbell rings. You open it to find two neatly groomed young men in white shirts and black ties, holding black books that look like Bibles; their bicycles are propped against the wall nearby. “Good afternoon,” they say. “We’re from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and we’d like to share a few things with you from the Book of Mormon –the real truth about Jesus Christ.”
But if you take the time to talk to these polite young men in some depth, you may discover (if they explain their faith candidly) that although they claim to bring new truths about Jesus Christ, their beliefs are really more similar to an ancient heresy than to the Gospel taught by Christ and His Apostles.
From her very beginning, the Church has struggled to defend the truth taught by Jesus Christ to His Apostles against false teaching. Two movements, Gnosticism and Arianism, arose during the first centuries of Christian history. Gnosticism, one of the first movements to threaten Orthodox Christianity, taught that Christ had left secret knowledge to be revealed only to the elect. Some Gnostics also believed that humans existed as disembodied souls before their birth on earth.
For almost three centuries, the Church, led by such great theologians as Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, fought to prevent the wave of Gnosticism from washing away the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ. However, once Gnosticism had been cast onto the dustbin of history, another teacher arose to challenge Orthodox Christianity. Arius, a priest in Alexandria, gathered a large following for his teaching that Jesus Christ is not God Incarnate, but a creation of God. Arius also rejected the Orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
After a major struggle that shook the whole Christian world, the Church rejected the new teaching and reaffirmed its commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the conflict with Arianism gave the Church its basic statement of Faith, the Creed adopted by the first two Ecumenical Councils, Nicea I in 325 and Constantinople I in 381, which is recited at every Orthodox Divine Liturgy. The struggle with Arianism also gave the Orthodox Church some of its greatest theologians, Saint Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers..
Although Orthodoxy eventually triumphed over these and other heresies, men and women have continued to reject the teachings of the Church and to follow their own doctrines. America has produced two major challenges to Orthodox Christianity: the Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose teachings resemble ancient Arianism in many ways; and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose beliefs and practices are very similar to, although not identical with, ancient Gnosticism.


Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, was born on February 16, 1852. He grew up in Allegheny and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and became a journalist. In 1875, Russell, who had left the Congregational Church, became the leader of a Bible class in Pittsburgh. Four years later, Russell began publication of Zion’s Watch Tower, which quickly grew to a circulation of over 60,000.
By 1908, Russell had moved to Brooklyn, still the headquarters of the movement today. Despite his rather unorthodox views, he gained an enthusiastic following. Some flocked to study at his Gilead Bible School. Others worked on three Kingdom Farms that produced food, furniture, and other needs for the society and for Russell’s publishing house in Brooklyn, in return for room and board and a meager allowance.
Despite his success as a religious leader, evidence presented in courts when his wife divorced him and in unsuccessful suits he brought against his critics reveals that Russell was nothing more than a clever con-man. Official court records show that among other things, Russell controlled a holding company that channeled the money of the organization into his personal accounts.
The leader of the Jehovah’s Witnesses had also been involved in such schemes as selling his followers an inferior grade of wheat he called “Miracle Wheat” at highly inflated prices. Russell had thrilled his followers with published accounts of speeches before enthusiastic groups that never really took place. During one embarrassing testimony, an attorney forced Russell to admit under oath that he had lied when he claimed that he could read Greek, that he had been ordained to the ministry, and that his wife had not divorced him. Thus, court records reveal that Russell was anything but a righteous man who sacrificed his personal wealth and comfort for his religious ideals.

Arianism Reincarnated

Following Russell’s sudden death on October 31, 1916, Joseph Franklin Rutherford assumed leadership of the organization until his death in 1942. Because Rutherford had been a special judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Booneville, Missouri, his followers called him Judge Rutherford. Rutherford gave the growing movement the name Jehovah’s Witnesses, from the incorrect translation of Yahweh or “The Lord God” in the King James Bible.
During many radio addresses, Rutherford expanded on Russell’s ideas to create the beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, while denouncing traditional Christian doctrine as “satanic.” Today there are 3.8 million followers of the Jehovah’s Witness religion. They publish their magazine, The Watch Tower, in a hundred languages and are known for going door to door trying to persuade others to join their movement.
Like the ancient Arians, Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the doctrine of the Incarnation and the deity of Christ. They also charge that after Constantine adopted Christianity, the Church yielded to paganism by accepting the Holy Trinity. Instead, they believe that God created Jesus Christ before the beginning of the world in the form of the Archangel Michael, who eventually came to earth as Jesus Christ-a created being who, despite his moral perfection, was only a man, not the Only Begotten Son of God. They also believe that the Holy Spirit is merely Jehovah’s invisible energizing force. Even today, followers of the Jehovah’s Witnesses wage a relentless war against the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Holy Trinity through such forums as internet news groups.
Lest their followers stray away from the Arian-like teachings of Russell and Rutherford into more traditional Christian doctrines by reading an accurate translation of the Bible, Rutherford’s successors released their own version of the Bible, The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, in 1961. Significantly, although the publishers claim that their translation is the work of qualified scholars, they have not revealed these scholars’ names or credentials.
The New World Translation makes subtle changes in the text of the Bible to support Jehovah’s Witness doctrine. For example, it adds “a” to John 1:1 so that the text reads, “the Word was a god.” However, the correct translation of this important verse is, “The Word was God.” As correctly translated, the first chapter of Saint John’s Gospel shows that the semi-Arian teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be reconciled with the Holy Scriptures.
Although they deny the divinity of Christ, the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ atoned for sin by his death. Significantly, they believe that Our Lord died on a stake rather than on a cross. They also believe that only 144,000 will be saved. All others will either cease to exist or will rise with a physical body to everlasting life on earth. Jehovah’s Witnesses also believe that Christ came again in 1914 and cast the devil and his angels down to earth, where they caused a great deal of trouble. Indeed, 1914 is a good date to cite for trouble, for the First World War began in that year.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that four years later, Christ entered the spiritual temple to cleanse it in preparation for the resurrection of the 144,000 chosen to join him there. At the time of that resurrection, they believe, Christ and his armies will defeat Satan and his followers (including organized religion) at the great battle of Armageddon. Following his victory, Christ will then cast Satan and his followers into the abyss or a deathlike state for a thousand years, during which Christ and the 144,000 saved ones will rule over earth from heaven.
During this time there will be two resurrections. First the righteous of the Old Testament will rise and become princes on earth. Then all those who wanted to do right but died without the opportunity to hear the truth of Jehovah will rise and receive a chance to become faithful members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Finally, Satan will be released from bondage and begin a campaign of deceit to lead a final rebellion against Jehovah. After Jehovah intervenes and casts Satan and his followers into annihilation in the lake of fire, Christ and the 144,000 will remain in heaven, while those who accepted the truth of the Jehovah’s Witness religion will live in an earthly paradise.
The teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are far removed from Orthodox Christianity. They reject the Incarnation and divinity of Christ, teaching a modern form of the ancient heresy of Arianism, condemned by the Church at the First Ecumenical Council, Nicea I, in 325. Thus they also reject the doctrine of the Trinity, which they consider a false teaching that came into the Church through pagan influence.
Although the Scriptures teach and the Orthodox Church affirms the Second Coming of Christ, there is nothing in the Bible that mentions the coming of Christ in 1914. Indeed, Our Lord said in Mark 13:32 that no one, not even the angels in heaven, knows when He will come again. There is no mention in the Scriptures of Christ coming into a “spiritual temple.” Scriptures teach not that Christ will return in secret, but that He will return with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
The New Testament does not teach two forms of salvation, one for 144,000 (a number used in Revelation 7:1-8 to symbolize the Church as the New Israel), and another, lesser salvation for everyone else. Finally, it is evident that Russell was a less than honest man, who used religion as a means of personal enrichment.


Mormonism grew during a period of great change and social turmoil in America, the early nineteenth century. During this “age of the common man,” men and women left their families to create a new society based on equality, in utopian communes like the Oneida Community of John H. Noyes or Robert D. Owen’s New Harmony. Others campaigned for the transformation of whole areas of American society. Dorothy L. Dix championed the rights of the mentally ill, while Lucretia Mott and her followers campaigned for women’s suffrage.
Meanwhile, the spirit of adventure and reform that was shaking the secular world led prophets of new religions to challenge more traditional forms of Christianity. The religious fervor settled primarily into one area of the country, upstate New York. Here one preacher after another thrilled excited congregations with new revelations of the “true Gospel.”

Joseph Smith-Prophet or Profiteer?

This atmosphere of religious turmoil permitted Joseph Smith, Jr., an obscure man with little formal education, to gain a following for his claim to be a prophet of God with a mission to restore true Christianity.
Born in Sharon, Vermont, on December 23, 1805, Joseph Smith, Jr., moved in 1816 with his father and mother, Joseph Sr. and Lucy Smith, and his eight brothers and sisters to Palmyra, New York, in the heart of this area of religious ferment. There the elder Smith eked out a living as a farmer and peddler while spending his spare time looking for buried treasure or counterfeiting his own money. As he grew to adulthood, Joseph Jr. followed his father’s example, claiming to locate buried riches with the help of a “peepstone.”
Stimulated perhaps by the religious excitement of his new home, Smith began to claim special visions, and shifted his concerns from the search for buried treasure to the proclamation of his new religion. In 1820, he claimed to have received a visitation by God the Father and Jesus Christ instructing him to avoid the rival religions fighting for men’s souls in the area (such as Methodism and Presbyterianism), for they had forsaken the true Gospel. Three years later, an angel named Moroni supposedly appeared to lead him to the location of a set of buried golden plates containing the writings of the ancient inhabitants of North America. Aided by a set of large spectacles, the Urim and Thummim, which allowed him to read the “Reformed Egyptian” of the plates, Smith translated and published their contents as The Book of Mormon in 1830.
Smith’s followers consider The Book of Mormon, a collection of fifteen books which tell the story of two ancient peoples that immigrated to America from the Middle East long before the birth of Christ, a part of Holy Scripture. The first people, the Jaredites, crossed the Atlantic in eight barges and settled in Central America over two thousand years before Christ. In the New World, they established a great civilization. However, a terrible civil war resulted in the complete destruction of this ancient people. According to the Mormons, the prophet Ether left the record of their history on twenty-four plates which form the Book of Ether in the Mormon Bible.
The second people, the followers of the prophet Lehi, fled Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and settled on the West Coast of South America. However, Laman, one of the sons of the prophet, rebelled against God and became an outcast along with his family. The sons of Laman, whom God punished for their sins by turning their skin dark, are the ancestors of the American Indians. Lehi’s other son, Nephi, followed the path of righteousness and led his people to establish a great civilization in Central and North America.
Indeed, the descendants of Nephi were so holy that Jesus Christ Himself descended from heaven in A.D. 34 to preach to them and to establish the church in the New World.
However, the wicked descendants of Laman grew stronger and destroyed the descendants of Nephi in a terrible battle in A.D. 385. Moroni, the only survivor of this holocaust, recorded their history and buried it with the plates of Ether in Hill Cumorah, where Joseph Smith claimed to have found them in 1823-24.
No credible archeologist or anthropologist has found the slightest evidence to support the fantastic story of The Book of Mormon. Indeed, all authorities agree that the Native Americans are descended from Asiatic peoples who moved into the New World from Siberia through Alaska. The canonical Scriptures give no indication that ancient Jews migrated to the New World, or that Jesus Christ ever visited America. There is no record of the existence of such a language as “Reformed Egyptian,” much less of its use in America.
Suspiciously large portions of The Book of Mormon appear to be crudely reworded selections from the King James Bible. Indeed, there is very strong evidence that the real source of The Book of Mormon is the imagination of Joseph Smith, rather than a mysterious set of gold tablets. Significantly, the Mormons cannot produce the golden plates as evidence of the truth of Smith’s claims, for they no longer exist. There is even considerable reason to believe that Smith actually rewrote an unpublished novel by Solomon Spaulding entitled The Manuscript Found, using it as the basis for The Book of Mormon.
Spaulding, a retired Presbyterian minister, submitted his work to a publisher in Pittsburgh shortly before his death in 1816. Sidney Rigdon, an early associate of Smith, visited the printing house that year and showed a copy of Spaulding’s manuscript to several friends. Although the original work has disappeared, several of Spaulding’s relatives and friends have testified to the great similarity between The Manuscript Found and The Book of Mormon.
Regardless of whether The Book of Mormon came solely from Smith’s vivid imagination or from Spaulding’s work of fiction, the Mormon prophet utilized his claim of access to the mysterious golden tablets for personal gain. As a result, he became the leader of a growing religious movement that was much more successful than his fruitless efforts to discover buried treasure. So great was Smith’s desire for financial profit from his works that he persuaded one gullible follower, Martin Harris, to mortgage his farm to finance the publication of the original edition of The Book of Mormon on March 26, 1830. Smith also claimed that God spoke directly to him. Along with The Book of Mormon, Smith’s prophecies and sermons, published in Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Teachings of Joseph Smith, form the basis for Mormon doctrine.
On May 15, 1829, Smith and Oliver Cowdery claimed that Saint John the Baptist conferred on them the Aaronic Priesthood. A few days later, they asserted that Saints Peter, James, and John came down from heaven to admit them to the higher Melchizedek Priesthood.
Smith gathered five followers and organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on April 6, 1830, in Fayette, New York. Stimulated by the publication of The Book of Mormon, the small group grew swiftly and moved to Kirkland, Ohio, where they formed themselves into a commune.
From Kirkland, the infant Mormon Church spread to other cities, including Independence, Missouri. Here, Smith ordered the faithful to purchase land on the basis of a vision that Christ would establish his temple there following the Second Coming. Naturally, Smith, who did not hesitate to condemn all other churches as “apostate,” aroused a great deal of opposition.
Finally, Smith and his followers organized a town of their own in Nauvoo, Illinois. However, criticism of the new religion continued to grow, especially following Smith’s “revelation” of July 12, 1843, sanctioning polygamy. In an effort to crush opposition, Smith and his followers destroyed the plant of a newspaper that had published several critical articles. As a result, the “prophet” found himself in jail. However, the bars failed to protect him from the enraged populace, which attacked the prison and killed Smith on June 27, 1844.

Go West, Young Man

Following the “martyrdom” of their leader, the Mormons fell into a struggle between the various claimants to the leadership of the movement. After an unsuccessful attempt by Sidney Rigdon to claim the mantle of the prophet, Brigham Young emerged as the leader of the largest faction of Mormons. Young believed that Mormons could never practice their faith unmolested while surrounded by followers of other religions. Therefore, he led thousands in a grueling trek across the wilderness to Salt Lake City, Utah. Those who rejected Young’s leadership, especially following the introduction of plural marriage, formed two smaller groups, “The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”, and the “Church of Christ (Temple Lot)”in Independence. Young, who eventually had twenty-five wives, was a brilliant leader. He presided over the transformation of a desert wasteland into a well-planned city, and left an organization of 140,000 at his death in 1877.
Today, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints claims a membership of over two million throughout the world. Still centered in Salt Lake City, the Mormon Church consists of over six thousand parishes, called wards, which are organized into “stakes.” Advised by a council of twelve “apostles,” the president of the church exercises absolute authority and is considered a spokesman for God by the faithful.
In addition to its religious activities, the Mormon Church sponsors a very effective social services program for its members. “Storehouses,” a remnant of the movement’s origins in the age of communes, provide food and clothing for members in need. The body sends out thousands of missionaries, young men who give a year or two to spread their faith. Known for their white shirts, black ties, and bicycles, they go door to door in an effort to bring others into the Mormon fold.

The Mormon God

Based largely on the revelations by Joseph Smith, Mormon doctrine is radically different from traditional Christian doctrine. Like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons reject the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. Ridiculing traditional monotheism, Smith believed that the god of this world is but one of the many gods who populate the heavens.
Smith taught that the god of this world, the Elohim of the Old Testament, is really an exalted man who lived on a planet and had a father like any other man. Elohim is not a spirit, but possesses a human body of flesh and bones. Indeed, materialism is so important to Mormons that they affirm the eternity of matter and deny its creation by Elohim or any other god. The Father of this world, identified as Adam by some Mormon theologians, achieved godhood and sired a race of spiritual children. The Father has not reached perfection, but is in a state of constant growth.
Although Mormonism rejects the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, the followers of this religion believe in the existence of the Son and the Holy Spirit. However, they insist that these are separate from the Father, not “one in essence and undivided” as Orthodoxy teaches. Mormons believe that Christ is not the Only Begotten Son of God, but merely the firstborn of the Father and the elder brother of the human race. Identifying Christ as the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Mormons believe that He organized creation at the command of His Father, Elohim.
Following the fall of man, Christ came to earth to offer Himself as a sacrifice on the Cross to save fallen mankind from eternal death. The Holy Spirit of Mormonism is a separate entity which acts as the agent of Elohim in managing creation. Mormons believe that all humans are actually sons of god, and that their existence began long before physical birth.
According to their doctrine, Elohim gave birth to many spiritual children, some of whom became men and some of whom continue to serve as angels until their physical birth. Before the organization of this world, Elohim met with his spiritual children to plan a place for their dwelling that they might grow into godhood as he had done. As a result, the earth came into being.
However, Lucifer and a third of the sons of god rejected Elohim’s plan and were cast out of heaven. Unable to assume physical bodies, necessary for their exaltation to godhood, they became disembodied spirits. Those who obeyed Elohim were allowed to come to earth to assume bodies so that they might grow into godhood. Adam was the first spirit to receive a body and became the father of mankind. However, his wife Eve fell through the temptation of Satan, thereby presenting Adam with a dilemma.
His mission was to have children by Eve to provide bodies for the spiritual children of Elohim. However, through her fall by eating of the forbidden fruit, Eve became mortal and her children would be mortal. Adam, according to Smith, unselfishly chose to become mortal himself by sin so that he might fulfill the Father’s command to have children. Therefore, according to Mormon theology, every person born into this world consists of two parts. The first is the spirit, which was born of Elohim before the organization of this world. The second is the corrupt body inherited from Adam and Eve.
Because of the greatness of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, Mormons believe that all mankind will have the opportunity to gain salvation. Following death, every person will await the Last Judgment in an intermediate place called Paradise. There the dead will have a chance to repent of their sins and become Latter Day Saints. The Mormons practice the baptism of the dead by proxy as a means to assist those in Paradise to become members of their church.
Following the Last Judgment, only those who knowingly rejected Christ will spend eternity in perdition with Satan and his angels. The rest of mankind will inherit one of the three degrees of “Glory.” Those who did not become Christians and who lived evil lives will spend eternity in the “Telestial Kingdom.” There, separated from Christ, they will receive the just rewards for their sins. Those who lived righteous lives and who became Christians following death will inherit the “Terrestrial Kingdom.” Spending eternity in the presence of Christ, they will, however, be deprived of fellowship with Elohim and full exaltation to godhood.
Finally, the righteous Christians will be raised to the “Celestial Kingdom.” There, in the presence of Elohim, they will share in his glory and will become gods themselves. Those in the Celestial Kingdom will even be able to have spirit children and to become gods of their own worlds, just as Elohim became the god of this world.
In order for a person to enter into the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom, he must fulfill certain obligations. He must be baptized by immersion in the name of “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” and must receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands from an elder in the Mormon Church. Every person aspiring to godhood must also enter into a “celestial marriage” for eternity in a special ceremony in a Mormon Temple.
As gods, men and women in the Celestial Kingdom will be able to give birth to their own spiritual children and organize their own worlds for them just as Elohim became the god of this world, which he populated with his own spiritual sons and daughters.

The Priesthood and the Temple

Mormonism places great emphasis on its priesthood, claiming to be a restoration of the true Church by virtue of its exclusive possession of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Before a person may advance to the higher priesthood, he must first pass through the three ranks of the lower Aaronic Priesthood. Named after the first Jewish High Priest, Aaron, the lesser priesthood of Mormonism consists of deacons, teachers, and priests.
Following advancement through the Aaronic Priesthood, a man is eligible to enter the Melchizedek Priesthood. Named for Melchizedek of Genesis, the higher priesthood of Mormonism consists of five levels: elders, seventies, high priests, patriarchs, and apostles. In each area one high priest has the office of bishop of the ward, a group of stakes. One high priest serves as the chief executive officer of the Mormon Church, the First President, who is believed to possess special prophetic powers and to act as a spokesman for God. Twelve apostles form a council to advise the First President.
The temples are central to the exercise of the Mormon priesthood. Here, in absolute secrecy, the faithful participate in elaborate ceremonies, complete with secret handshakes and special clothing, to receive the Endowments of the Priesthood and to be married for eternity. They also participate in baptism, ordination, and even marriage services for the departed. Mormons wish to extend the blessings of their faith to their ancestors and spend a great deal of time and effort in extensive genealogical research to learn the names of their ancestors. Then they are united in celestial marriage and prepared for exaltation to godhood in the world to come.
The Mormons have built sixteen temples, twelve in the United States and others in Canada, England, Switzerland, and New Zealand. The most famous temple is in Salt Lake City, the headquarters of the Mormon Church. Only members of the church in good standing may enter a temple, and no part of the ceremony may be disclosed to an outsider. Thus, like the ancient Gnostics, the Mormons teach that only those who are admitted to secret knowledge can achieve the highest level of salvation.
Actually, the rites of Mormon temples bear no resemblance to the worship of the temple of ancient Jerusalem or to the worship of any Christian Church. There is no praise of God or reading from Holy Scripture, or any other act usually associated with worship. Indeed, the services are more like the initiation rites of a fraternal organization than services of worship. Significantly, Joseph Smith, Jr., the author of the temple rites of Mormonism, was himself a thirty-second degree Mason.

Recycled Gnosticism

Although there are important differences between ancient Gnosticism and Mormonism, the similarities are striking. They both replace biblical Christianity with a very elaborate set of legends and esoteric teachings found, for Mormons, in the fanciful tales of The Book of Mormon and the teachings of Joseph Smith.
Like some ancient Gnostics, Mormons believe in the preexistence of souls, a doctrine contrary to Scripture and condemned by the Church at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, Constantinople II in 553. The secrecy of the temple rites of Mormonism is a parallel to the secret knowledge of ancient Gnosticism.
However, Mormonism differs from ancient Gnosticism in one major way. Gnosticism considered the physical world so evil that many Gnostics denied the Incarnation, teaching instead that Christ only seemed to have a physical body (a doctrine called Docetism). The Latter Day Saints, on the other hand, exalt matter over spirit, believing that matter is eternal.
Although the Scriptures teach that God is spirit (John 4:24), the Latter Day Saints believe that God has a body of flesh and bones. Indeed, they believe that the god of this world is an exalted man who became a god. Finally, they believe that by following the beliefs and practices of the Mormon religion, they too may become gods ruling over their own worlds.


When considering the claims of the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, several questions come to mind. Firstly, one might ask why God would have allowed His people to dwell in darkness for almost two thousand years after Christ, until the coming of Smith or Russell to lead them to the truth. One might also ask why any intelligent person would become a part of a religious movement founded by men whose dishonesty is so apparent. Finally, what good reason could there be for believing self-proclaimed prophets whose teachings contradict the clear doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, instead of holding to the truth proclaimed by the Church founded by Christ and led by His Apostles and their successors?
Ask those polite young men these questions next time they come to your door. Whatever response they might offer, you can be sure there is something they will not be able to provide you with, for it has been carefully hidden from them through the crafty deceit of their movement’s founders and leaders: the real truth about Jesus Christ.


Cultist at My Door – An Orthodox Examination of the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.pdf

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